Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Deirdre Sayers from Department of Education and Skills to give some advice for people considering this job:


Deirdre Sayers

Primary School Teacher

Department of Education and Skills

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  Deirdre Sayers
Do not go into teaching solely for holidays, and definitely not if you want to be rich! You need to like children be patient, kind and be able to work with many types of people.

Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Adult Learner

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Awarding Bodies

Awarding bodies are organisations that are empowered to ‘make awards’, or ‘award qualifications’. This function should not be confused with similar functions such as award recognition or licence to practice, which reside with certain professional organisations.

Most major awards are made by awarding bodies with statutory powers, but there are also many professional organisations that make their own awards. While most programmes and courses in Ireland lead to Irish qualifications on the Nationl Framework of Qualifications (NFQ), it is also the case that many programmes lead to non-Irish awards, for example awards from international bodies, or national awards from other jurisdictions (mainly UK).

Certain institutions are both providers of programmes and awarding bodies in their own right: these are the universities and the Dublin Institute of Technology.

Irish Awarding Bodies

Quality Qualifications Ireland (QQI awards)

As the national awarding body for all further education and training in Ireland, QQI makes awards for learning in programmes in training centres, in further education colleges, in the community and in the workplace. 

It is anticipated that increasing number of learners achieving QQI further education and training awards will use these qualifications to achieve entry to higher education programmes in the coming years, including directly through the CAO system.

Reference to the former awarding bodies “FETAC” and “HETAC” has been removed and now replaced by “QQI”.

The State Examinations Commission (SEC)

SEC makes awards for learning in school programmes – Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate.

Third Level Providers

The Irish universities and the Dublin Institute of Technology make awards for programmes provided under their own aegis, and for some programmes provided in other institutions. The universities are:

  • University of Limerick
  • Dublin City University
  • Trinity College Dublin
  • University College Dublin
  • University College Cork
  • National University of Ireland Galway
  • National University of Ireland Maynooth

The National University of Ireland makes awards for programmes provided in its constituent colleges.

Professional Bodies

The following professional bodies have power to make awards arising from either Irish legislation or European Directive:

  • An Bord Altranais
  • Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland
  • Bord na Radharcmhastóirí / The Opticians Board
  • Law Society of Ireland
  • Council of the Honourable Society of King’s Inns
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland
  • National Social Work Qualifications Board
  • Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland
  • Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources
  • Director of Telecommunications Regulation
  • Irish Aviation Authority
  • Royal College of Surgeons Ireland

Awarding Bodies from outside Ireland

Several awarding bodies, that have authority in other jurisdictions to make awards in those jurisdictions, also make awards for learning on programmes in Ireland. In addition to a number of UK Universities, these include:

  • City and Guilds (UK)
  • Joint Examining Board (UK)
  • OCR (Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examinations, UK)
  • Edexcel (UK)
  • Education Development International

Other awarding bodies

Many courses lead to awards made by other awarding bodies or professional bodies whose awarding powers are either non-statutory or unknown, sometimes in addition to an award made by one of the statutory bodies listed above. There are also awards made by international or transnational awarding bodies, e.g. ECDL or CIDESCO. The validity and relevance of awards made by such bodies is a matter for the learner to consider.

  Hint: Department of Education and Skills
Yes it’s always necessary to keep up to date with best practice in special education. I have completed a Cert. in Dyslexia which is DES (Department of Education and Science) approved. In the future I intend to study for a Masters degree. I also read books and publications on special education and teaching methodology.
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